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The union representing federal correctional officers is calling for the removal of an Illinois federal prison warden. The American Federation of Government Employees said the warden at the Thomson Penitentiary has not made any workforce changes, despite federal officers pointing to repeated sexual misconduct from inmates. AFGE said the incidents create an unsafe work environment for the employees, and have led to stress-induced illnesses for some of the workers. In 2022, there were 321 sexual misconduct incidents at the prison.
The Army is losing its second key technology executive in the last few months. Raj Iyer, the Army’s chief information officer, is leaving federal service after more than two years on the job. Iyer said his contract is ending in the coming weeks. He does not yet have a departure date. Iyer is the Army’s first civilian CIO, coming into the role shortly after the service split up the CIO/G6 responsibilities in August 2020. During his time as CIO, Iyer focused on changing the culture of technology and modernization. Among his accomplishments are the launch of the cArmy cloud platform, the virtual desktop and cloud services outside the United States. (Army CIO Iyer to depart after 2-plus years -Federal News Network)
The Defense Department will begin changing the names of military installations named after the Confederacy. The announcement follows a congressionally mandated 90-day waiting period that started when the naming commission shared the third and final part of its report with Congress and the Defense Secretary in September 2022. The renaming will include nine Army bases and over 1,100 other military assets. Among the changes, North Carolina’s Fort Bragg will change to Fort Liberty, Georgia’s Fort Benning will become Fort Moore, and Fort Hood in Texas will become Fort Cavazos. The renaming effort will cost DoD more than $62 million.
Federal diversity leaders look to expand some internal agency work to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility. The General Services Administration has created a centralized American Sign Language component. That effort can be replicated at other agencies as well. “It’s really about taking those best practices, and sharing them in this interagency forum, so that we can begin to drive progress,” said Janice Underwood, the first-ever governmentwide chief diversity officer. Agencies shared many of the DEIA efforts they have underway at a recent diversity summit.
The Federal Acquisition Regulations Council is priming for a busy 2023. It has 19 rules in the final stage and another 29 in the proposed rule stage. The Office of Management and Budget released the annual update to the unified regulatory agenda detailing every agency’s rulemaking efforts. Among the rules in the final stage from the FAR Council is one that would codify whistleblower protections for contractors. Another would create a 360-degree feedback mechanism for agency pre-award and post-award processes. And another would create FAR Part 40, a single, consolidated location for cybersecurity supply-chain risk-management requirements.
As 2023 kicks into high gear, it promises to be another busy year in the cyber policy world. The White House is expected to issue a new national cyber strategy in the coming months. It will lay out the Biden administration’s plans for securing digital networks, including a potential shift toward a more regulatory approach. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is also expected to move toward finalizing new cyber incident reporting requirements this year. And agencies are hoping to make progress on zero trust implementation and adopting secure software development practices. (Forthcoming national cyber strategy highlights 2023 cybersecurity agenda – Federal News Network)
Private debt collectors hired by the IRS get mixed reviews from an agency watchdog. Private debt collectors contracted by the IRS between April 2017 and September 2021 brought in more than $1 billion from taxpayers who are behind on what they owe. That is according to a new report from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. Private debt collectors set up payment plans for more than 188,000 taxpayers, but they defaulted on more than half of them. The IRS did not renew contracts with two private debt collection contractors and terminated payment plans for nearly 15,000 taxpayers totaling $108 million.
Prospective spies can use a new hiring portal launched by the CIA this week. The new portal is called MyLINK and can be accessed through CIA.gov. The agency said it will help streamline the hiring process and recruit talented individuals to join its foreign intelligence mission. Potential applicants can browse job openings, mark their interest in up to four different occupations, and upload their resumes. CIA recruiters will follow-up with individuals who could meet the agency’s needs.
The Postal Service’s regulator has named a new second-in-command. Mark Acton will serve a one-year term as vice chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission. Acton is serving out his third six-year term on the commission and will be its longest-serving member by the end of his current term, having been appointed by President George W. Bush nearly two decades ago.
Military members will get 12-weeks of parental leave starting this year. The birth parent can take 12 weeks in addition to any doctor-mandated convalescent leave they take for birth and delivery. The previous policy allowed the birth parent six weeks, and the non-birth parent no extra leave. Parents who adopt or foster a child also get the time off. The 12 weeks can be used in increments or all at once, any time up to the child’s first birthday.